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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 10/11/2020

Top 5 matches, starring all puro matches again! With 2 of the tournaments coming to an end this week, next week should be more reader friendly!

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With Champion Carnival and N-1 Victory coming to an end, we have a little more normalcy in the watching lineup. Now that doesn’t mean that the Top 5 is television friendly, but at least there’s more known names across the entire article.

Let’s see what won September!

MOTY Pool:

  • January – Wrestle Kingdom 14: Double Gold Match: Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito
  • February – AEW Revolution: AEW World Tag Team Championship: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega (c) vs The Young Bucks
  • March – AEW Dynamite: AAA Mega Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Sammy Guevara
  • April – WrestleMania 36: NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair
  • May – NXT: Pit Fight: Matt Riddle vs Tim Thatcher
  • June – NXT In Your House: NXT Women’s Champion Triple Threat: Io Shirai vs Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley
  • July – NJPW Dominion: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs SHO
  • August – NOAH the Chronicle Vol 3: GHC National Openweight & GHC Heavyweight Championship Double Title Match: Kenoh (c) vs Go Shiozaki (c)
  • September – AEW Dynamite: Parking Lot Fight: Santana & Ortiz vs Best Friends

Impact Wrestling Victory Road: Eric Young vs Eddie Edwards, won the weekly vote, but I’m not surprised the hype carried the Parking Lot match over everything (hell I even voted for it).

Now let’s get to this week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. AJPW Champion Carnival Finals: Zeus vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: *****
  2. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi
    Rating: *****
  3. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: N-1 Victory Finals: Kaito Kiyomiya vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
    Rating: **** 1/4
  4. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Kota Ibushi vs Minoru Suzuki
    Rating: **** 1/4
  5. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs Hao
    Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

  1. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 10: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA
    Rating: ****
  2. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 9: Taichi vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: ****
  3. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 12: Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson
    Rating: ****
  4. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 11: Shingo Takagi vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: ****
  5. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 9: Will Ospreay vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  6. AJPW Champion Carnival Final Day: Enfants Terribles (Hokuto Omori, Kuma Arashi & Shotaro Ashino) defeat Evolution (Dan Tamura & Suwama) & Shuji Ishikawa
    Rating: *** 3/4
  7. G1 Climax B Block Day 12: YOSHI-HASHI vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: *** 3/4
  8. G1 Climax A Block Day 11: Will Ospreay vs Minoru Suzuki
    Rating: *** 3/4
  9. IMPACT!: Ace Austin & Madman Fulton vs Motor City Machine Guns
    Rating: *** 3/4
  10. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: GHC Junior Tag Championship: Momo no Seishun Tag (Daisuke Harada & Atsuhi Kotoge) vs Stinger (HAYATA & Yoshinari Ogawa) (c)
    Rating: *** 3/4
  11. G1 Climax A Block Day 11: Jay White vs Taichi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  12. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Jeff Cobb vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: *** 3/4
  13. AEW Dynamite: TNT Championship Dog Collar Match: Cody vs Brodie Lee (c)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  14. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 14: Hirooki Goto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: *** 1/2
  15. AJPW Champion Carnival Final Day: Yuma Aoyagi vs. Koji Doi
    Rating: *** 1/2
  16. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 9: Jay White vs Jeff Cobb
    Rating: *** 1/2
  17. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 10: Zack Sabre Jr vs SANADA
    Rating: *** 1/2
  18. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 11: Yujiro Takahashi vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: *** 1/2
  19. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 10: YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Naito
    Rating: *** 1/2
  20. G1 Climax A Block Day 9: Minoru Suzuki vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: *** 1/2
  21. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 14: SANADA vs Juice Robinson
    Rating: *** 1/2
  22. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Will Ospreay vs Taichi
    Rating: *** 1/2
  23. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 12: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs EVIL
    Rating: *** 1/4
  24. AEW Dynamite: Big Swole vs Serena Deeb
    Rating: *** 1/4
  25. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: KONGO (Kenoh, Manabu Soya, Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura) vs Sugiura-Gun (Takashi Sugiura, Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & Kazushi Sakuraba)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  26. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 10: Juice Robinson vs EVIL
    Rating: *** 1/4
  27. NXT: Kushida vs Tommaso Ciampa
    Rating: *** 1/4
  28. IMPACT!: Rosemary & Taya Valkyrie vs Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz
    Rating: *** 1/4
  29. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 12: KENTA vs SANADA
    Rating: *** 1/4
  30. AJPW Champion Carnival Final Day: Purple Haze (Izanagi, Shigehiro Irie & UTAMARO) vs. Akira Francesco, Jiro ‘Ikemen’ Kuroshio & Rising HAYATO
    Rating: *** 1/4
  31. G1 Climax A Block Day 9: Shingo Takagi vs Yujiro Takahashi
    Rating: *** 1/4
  32. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: M’s Allaince (Naomichi Marufuji, Masaaki Mochizuki, Masakatsu Funaki & Keiji Muto) vs Go Shiozaki, Shuhei Taniguchi, Mohammed Yone & Daiki Inaba
    Rating: ***
  33. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 14: YOSHI-HASHI vs Zack Sabre Jr
    Rating: ***
  34. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 11: Jeff Cobb vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: ***
  35. AJPW Champion Carnival Final Day: JIN (Koji Iwamoto & Jake Lee) & TAJIRI vs. Atsuki Aoyagi, Black Menso-re, & Takao Omori
    Rating: ***
  36. AEW Dynamite: FTW Championship: Will Hobbs vs Brian Cage (c)
    Rating: ***
  37. WWE Raw: Robert Roode, Randy Orton & Dolph Ziggler vs The Street Profits & Drew McIntyre
    Rating: ***
  38. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: Junta Miyawaki, Seiya Morohashi &Kinya Okada vs FULL THROTTLE (YO-HEY, Hajime Ohara & Seiki Yoshioka)
    Rating: ***
  39. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 12: Zack Sabre Jr vs Toru Yano
    Rating: ***
  40. WWE SmackDown: SmackDown Tag Team Titles: New Day vs Nakamura & Cesaro (c)
    Rating: ***
  41. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Jay White vs Yujiro Takahashi
    Rating: ***

3t. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs Hao

From My Results:

We see an adjustment in body language, when Hao charges the corner and Suzuki counters with a shot to the ribs. He starts dumping him off and dismissing him like trash. The elitism of Suzuki bites him in the ass when Hao goes for a Satellite DDT, a counter to a backhand spring into a Backslide. Suzuki powders to the outside, gets a small advantage, tries an Apron Piledriver but Hao counters that into a Headscissors sending Suzuki flying.

Hao did his homework and had a counter for nearly everything, Requiem, Tiger Driver, Endless Waltz…Hao came prepared. He even made a statement by hitting Zero System on Suzuki. There was one scary point when Suzuki slipped on the ropes, with Hao in Brainbuster position, but he lands on his feet and delivers the move safely. This was just great to see every move in Suzuki’s arsenal countered. So he went to the well, and pulled out a Blue Thunder Driver, Big Ben Edge, to retain his title.

Winner: Suzuki via Big Ben Edge

 

3t. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Kota Ibushi vs Minoru Suzuki

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Suzuki eggs Ibushi on but Ibushi throws another forearm. Suzuki throws one back, then palm strikes. Ibushi gives those back, and they’re throwing hands fast and furious! Suzuki gets the edge, ducks Ibushi’s retaliation to SLEEPER HOLD! Ibushi reaches out but already starts to fade! Fans rally up and Suzuki spins Ibushi! Gotch lift, but Ibushi fights up and out to back drop. Suzuki sunset flips, Ibushi has the wrists! KAMIGO- NO! Suzuki rolls with the knee to get the ankle! Half Crab! Ibushi endures as Suzuki gets the other leg, for the FULL Boston Crab! Fans rally up as Ibushi endures and Suzuki sits deep! Suzuki is working on a WALLS OF JERICHO! It is Jericho’s 30th anniversary. Ibushi rolls through but Suzuki still has the one leg. Suzuki cranks on the heel, Ibushi fights up to his one good foot, V-TRIGGER!

Ibushi wants another but Suzuki blocks! Suzuki spins Ibushi to the sleeper, then to the Gotch but Ibushi is free, V-TRIG- NO! Suzuki blocks this one, and gets an arm. Ibushi headbutts, gets both arms, STANDING KAMIGOYE?!? Ibushi takes the knee pads down, sits Suzuki back up, and gives him a PROPER KAMIGOYE!! High stack cover, Ibushi wins!!

Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye

 

3t. NOAH N-1 Victory Final Day: N-1 Victory Finals: Kaito Kiyomiya vs Katsuhiko Nakajima

From My Results:

After rocking Waruhiko a bit, Kaito gets a little overzealous and Nakajima catches him and starts his own path of destruction. Thrust Kicks, Round Kicks to the chest, that genius Turnbuckle Pad Kick (not sure why but the simplicity of that move pops me every time),  and Kaito is reeling until he lands a strike of his own to have them both drop and breathe for a second.

Big German Suplex Hold from Kaito gives him some fire, he runs to the ropes once Nakajima kicks out, but a high speed Water Wheel Kick nearly takes Kaito off the top rope. Nakajima hits an Enzuigiri, goes up for possibly an Avalanche Diamond Bomb, but Kaito counters into his Avalanche Reverse DDT for 2.

Tiger Suplex Hold, but Nakajima kicks out. So much like their first finals meeting, Kaito goes for a second Tiger Suplex Hold, Nakajima breaks out, hits a High Kick that knocks Kaito back to the TRL days of MTV and then Nakajima finishes the match with the Diamond Bomb. It should be noted that Kaito has a huge bruise on his right cheek, so one of those kicks was a little stiff.

Winner: Nakajima via Diamond Bomb

 

1t. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 13: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi

From Mathew’s Review:

Shingo delivers some elbows onto Okada’s neck and chest before he attempts a Sliding Lariat but Okada gets up to hit his Dropkick! Okada would hit the Tombstone this time and applies the Money Clip right away, Shingo not wanting to tap as he hits Okada a few times before sliding his foot onto the ropes to break the hold. Okada climbs to the top rope and Shingo catches up to him, landed a few hits on him before climbing up with him to hit a Brainbuster off the top rope! Okada would hit a Dropkick onto Okada but Shingo rolls up to hit a Sliding Pumping Bomber! Shingo would lift Okada up for The Last of the Dragon but Okada fights out of it, flipping him over to attempt a pinfall but Shingo kicked out of it. Okada would then quickly catch him for the Spinning Tombstone and applies the Money Clip again, Shingo is struggling now to get to the ropes but Okada Backslides him over, holding his arm to pull him in for a Lariat! Okada tries to Lariat him again but Shingo would turn him around to hit the Rainmaker!! Shingo gets up to hit a Pumping Bomber but Okada ducks, going for the Rolling Lariat as Shingo catches I’m for the MADE IN JAPAN with Okada kicking out at two! Shingo hits the Pumping Bomber this time but Okada kicked out, quickly trying to get The Last of the Dragon as Okada fought him off, only to be caught with a Lariat. Shingo gets him up for The Last of the Dragon but Okada fights off him to apply the Money Clip again! Shingo rolled him off but is met with a Rolling Lariat! Okada gets the Money Clip in one more time and Shingo is fading, making his way to the ropes but Okada hits the Orton Backbreaker, reapplying it, leaving the referee with no choice but to call it as Shingo is passed out! Shingo is the best wrestler they have, and I don’t wanna hear different after this match. Fantastic match by both these men.

Winner: Okada via Money Clip

 

1t. AJPW Champion Carnival Finals: Zeus vs Kento Miyahara

From Mathew’s Review:

Kento calls for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold but Zeus breaks the grip and hits Kento with another Lariat. Zeus climbs to the top rope and hits the Frog Splash but Kento had his knees up before he could connect, hurting themselves in the process. Kento hits a Blackout and a German Suplex before he attempts the Shutdown German Suplex Hold again, getting the grip on and lifted him for a second before Zeus powers out of it last minute and hits a Dropkick! Zeus was now on top of Kento, delivering brutal forearms to his head to apply more damage to his head before getting off him. Zeus attempts a Lariat but Kento got behind him to roll him up for the European Clutch as Zeus kicked out and immediately applies the Facelock on Kento! Zeus has it locked-in and Kento could tap out right here but Zeus lets go of the hold once Kento was passed out since it seems he doesn’t wanna beat him that way. Zeus calls for the Jackhammer again but Kento fights off to hit a Blackout and hits another one to get him down. Kento is fired up as he goes for the Shutdown Gemrna Suplex Hold one more time as it connects with the referee going for the cover but Zeus kicked out! Zeus was able to kick out as many were unable to do except a certain few! Kento goes for it again but Zeus powers out of it to be met with a Blackout as Zeus bounced the ropes to hit another Lariat! Zeus hits one more Lariat as Kento kicked out but Zeus would pick him up to hit the Jackhammer and we have a winner!

Winner: Zeus via Jackhammer

 

Thoughts:

Given the fact the last B Block day for G1 was almost enough to make me lose hope in the block as a whole, this will probably be the last week that Japan dominates the top slots. So for those of you that don’t care about puro or feel that some other shows/matches have been getting a raw deal, we’re almost back to regularly scheduled programming.

That being said, the Champion Carnival Finals: Kento Miyahara vs Zeus, was AJPW’s best match of the year and a hefty contender for MOTY in many books. It would be a shame if the match doesn’t at least win the week since it is a less popular company at the moment, but we’ll see!

And for a quick comment in case people complain about the dog collar match low score; it was lame. Why did seconds get involved, why was Silver on the apron and too apparent for the first few minutes, why is Cody an idiot trying a Springboard move 2 minutes into a match? When the first 5 minutes makes me ask that many questions and then you just start adding color like blood equals psychology, you lose me. It was a mess that tried to sell “violence” as quality. If violence equaled quality than people would respect CZW…think on that.

 


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Opinion

Greg DeMarco’s 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Reaction

It’s the Royal Rumble! A favorite of many fans, the Rumble kicks off the Road To WrestleMania. Greg DeMarco is here with his live reactions to the event!

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WWE Royal Rumble 2024 Results

It’s the Royal Rumble! A favorite of many fans, the Rumble kicks off the Road To WrestleMania. Greg DeMarco is here with his live reactions to the event!

The WWE Royal Rumble is upon us, and while the Men’s Royal Rumble Match isn’t for the World Heavyweight Championship like I suggested, it’s still the most anticipated event of the year.

Why? The Unknown.

That’s right–in this age of the internet (usually incorrectly) telling us everything it possibly can about what is going to happen in the world of wrestling, the Royal Rumble stands out because despite what we’re told (or, more importantly, what we choose to listen to), the event is always full of fun and surprises.


Check out Steven Mitchell’s 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Results & Review!


Women’s Royal Rumble Match

  • They really are driving home the “main event WrestleMania” point this year–strengthens my thought that women will main event Night 1. Triple H would catch a ton of heat if he keeps women out for the third straight year.
  • NAOMI! Good to see her back, and the emotional response she had.
  • Love Michael Cole calling out Naomi’s time in TNA, and recognizing her as a former Knockouts Champion.
  • Entering #3 doesn’t bode well for Bayley. I honestly don’t think she is gonna win.
  • JORDYNNE GRACE! I saw the reports earlier today. This is a much bigger deal than Mickie James, because Mickie was a returning legend.
  • “TNA HAS A WEAPON!” So glad to have Pat McAfee on the call.
  • Honestly, Jordynne Grace belongs in WWE.

  • Asuka comes in, and they sell the surprise of Bayley. STORYTELLING, people!
  • Something tells me when we get Kairi Sane in there, The Kabuki Warriors will eliminate Bayley.
  • Ivy Nile enters, and I immediately want to see her go toe-to-toe with Jordynne Grace.
  • What if they pulled some crazy sh*t and had Jordynne Grace win???
  • Just step through the ropes next time, Bianca.
  • When I first saw the C4 clock, I thought I would get tired of it But I am already used to it.
  • Here’s Kairi Sane, time to set the plan into motion!
  • This crowd does not appear to like Tegan Nox.
  • Welp, there goes my idea o Asuka and Kairi eliminating Bayley.
  • That was a hell of a way for Jordynne Grace to go out.

  • I think Michael Cole secretly loves to call a Meteora.
  • There’s a reason Maxxine Dupri doesn’t wrestle much.
  • That tandem Code Red was very Young Buckish. And that’s not a compliment.
  • Hair,…gear…this might be the messiest Royal Rumble yet.
  • Ah, here comes the winner, Becky Lynch (I am calling Becky eliminates Bayley to win her second Royal Rumble).
  • LOVE the scoreboard of time in the Rumble for selected wrestlers.

  • R-TRUTH?!?! (Funny story, it was Truth’s spot that Nia Jax took in 2019.)
  • If you push Mia Yim, she’ll take it further than you could imagine.
  • “How is everybody the most athletic person on Earth?” – Pat McAfee
  • Surprising that Roxanne Perez, at #27, is the first NXT entrant. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Tiffany Stratton of Blair Davenport since we only have 3 more to come.
  • Amazing reaction for Jade Cargill. Give her time, she’s definitely going to be a huge star.
  • JUST GIVE HER TIME.
  • Seriously, Nia Jax had to help Jade eliminate her–A LOT.

  • Greg Was Wrong: It is indeed Tiffy Time in the Royal Rumble.
  • Back to Jade–she is insanely over.
  • I know it won’t be, but this should be Tiffany Stratton’s official main roster call-up.
  • Liv Morgan returns at #30, and good for Liv. She nearly went wire-to-wire last year.
  • Liv Morgan: “Thank you!” Pat McAfee: “No problem.”
  • Tiffany Stratton eliminating Roxanne Perez is, to me, an invitation for a match with them on Raw this Monday.
  • Still love the scoreboard as Naomi passes an hour.
  • The camera is catching a lot of in-ring communications right now.
  • And Jade Cargill eliminates my pick to win. Bye Becky.
  • Jade Cargill in the final three of the Royal Rumble (with Liv Morgan and Bayley) is huge for her.
  • Hell of a debut for Jade Cargill.
  • And a huge win for Bayley.

Winner of the 2024 Women’s Royal Rumble Match: Bayley (eliminating Liv Morgan to win)

Fatal 4-Way Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Randy Orton vs AJ Styles vs. LA Knight vs. Roman Reigns (champion, with Paul Heyman)

  • Glad to see AJ Styles got his tights back. Pants AJ Styles (but still with the football gloves) was not working. Not just bring the beard back to your face Allen–the think beard also ain’t working.

  • Pat McAfee campaigning for Roman Reigns to be given at least a 26% chance is amazing.
  • Say what you want about LA Knight, he’s a damn star and totally belongs in this match.
  • Roman completely sandbagged Randy on the table drop. I don’t think it was on purpose, but he definitely didn’t jump.
  • Roman Reigns is very much like Gunther in that he does the simple things SO WELL, like a jumping clothesline. That’s how you do it.
  • Yes, I compared Roman Reigns to Gunther. Don’t @ me, I’m right.

  • RKO City, Bitch.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here’s Solo! (At some point, Solo will get tired of saving Roman’s ass.)
  • Solo ’bout to go through that barricade.
  • Solo indeed went through that barricade.

  • Yes, we had the Solo interference mid-match, but honestly in the end Roman won that clean.

Winner, #ANDSTILL your Undisputed WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

WWE United States Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Logan Paul (champion)

  • Kevin Owens wearing Zubaz shorts in the Performance Center fight makes me very happy.
  • Logan Paul talking about a full time run, and now he’s putting on size.
  • Logan’s headband didn’t list very long.
  • I honestly hate it when modern-day wrestlers bust out a crotch chop.
  • If you were watching the Royal Rumble and didn’t know who Logan Paul was, you’d just assume he was a pro wrestler. That says everything you need to know about how good he is at this.
  • ANOTHER crotch chop. Now we’re at 2 too many.

  • Cue the “Better Buckshot Than Hangman” tweets. But they might be right.
  • I love the idea of a Logan Paul, Austin Theory, and Grayson Waller stable.
  • C’mon, there’s NO WAY Ryan Tran could see the knucks on Kevin Owens’ hand given his placement. It’s the little things.
  • Finish here tells me we’ll see KO vs. Logan Paul again. I’d guess on TV, if not in Australia.

Winner by disqualification, #ANDSTILL WWE United States Champion: Logan Paul

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

  • Jey Uso coming at #1 was expected thanks to the internet reports. But I still think Jimmy should be #1 and Jey #2, for the reaction shots on Jimmy.
  • Grayson Waller talking himself to the ring is perfect.
  • “No Yeet!” Grayson is a brilliant performer. I’d make a Roddy Piper comparison here, but y’all would get at mad at me.
  • Good to have Andrade back in WWE. Great reaction for him when the mask came off.

  • SmackDown superstar Carmelo Hayes! I really really really hope Trick is also in this match, just for the chants.
  • Melo pointed to the sign, C’mon, man.
  • Do you send Andrade to Smackdown, or do you send him to Raw and let him do his own thing?
  • Oh goody, Karrion Kross is here. Yay.
  • (Yes, that’s sarcasm you read.)
  • Dominik Mysterio is so good. Give him time, he’s going to be a huge star.

  • The Royal Rumble was a great place for the Apple Spot.
  • Here comes Bob Lashley–please just eliminate Karrion Kross.
  • Lashley wearing the WrestleMania white gear more than 2 months early.
  • Austin Theory still gets his concussion effect entrance, despite it being the Rumble.
  • What if–hear me out now–Finn Balor wins the Royal Rumble to get the shot at Seth Rollins, and Priest uses his briefcase to make that match a triple threat at ‘Mania?
  • I know he didn’t, but it sure looked like Jimmy was swerving while he drives in that interaction with Gunther.
  • Kofi did tell us the Rumble Magic wasn’t happening anymore.
  • Give me Ivar vs Gunther!
  • Bron Breakker is a star. It’s inevitable.
  • Of course Omos would be in the Rumble. Good to see MVP on my TV as well.
  • “I didn’t know humans came that big!” – Pat McAfee
  • I half think Pat McAfee didn’t know he was entering the Rumble.
  • Nice moment for Bron Breakker eliminating Omos. WrestleMania match?
  • R-Truth trying to get Dominik (Tom or Nick?) Mysterio to tag him in is brilliant.
  • DOM MADE THE TAG!!!
  • “And now R-Truth is the legal man.” – thank you Michael Cole.
  • Michael Cole delivers multiple TNA references tonight, along with a Dolph Ziggler reference. God Bless Michael Cole.
  • Imagine for a second that this was CM Punk’s actual WWE return.
  • The reaction to Drew McIntyre’s entrance is a reminder that they don’t actually need him.
  • Sami Zayn enters at #30, also known as “Not The Rock.”

  • In the ring, Drew McIntyre is amazing. Just keep the microphone away from him. (And stop the damn counting!)
  • And there goes my choice for the Men’s Rumble!
  • Love having both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in the press boxes watching to see who wins.
  • Punk kinda looks like Chris Jericho in there. Seriously.
  • Between Punk and Cody, Cody is the right choice. I really don’t want to watch Punk right now–he needs to hit the cardio, and hard. Given Seth Rollins’ injury and Punk’s conditioning, WWE would be smart to make the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 40 a multi-man match.

Winner of the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble: Cody Rhodes


Overall thoughts on the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

For at least the second straight year, the Men’s Royal Rumble Match was kinda disappointing. Not the result–that’s fine. But the match itself. It just wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Women’s. Of the four matches, I would place it 4th in terms of enjoyment.

Great moments for both Bayley and Cody Rhodes. Logan Paul continually shows that he deserves to be considered a pro wrestler, not a celebrity who is wrestling. Pat McAfee is a joy on commentary. Jordynne Grace is a WWE Superstar, regardless of what company she is signed to. Bron Breakker is a star.CM Punk is very out of shape. Cody Rhodes is about to become THE guy, and he deserves it.

Overall I give the event a thumbs up, but they have to do something about the Men’s Royal Rumble Match moving forward.


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Opinion

WWE Raw Heads To Netflix: What Does It Mean?

Monumental news drops as WWE RAW is moving to Netflix. Is it truly a game changing move? Greg DeMarco analyzes this shift for the TV wrestling business.

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WWE Logo Metalic

Monumental news drops as WWE RAW is moving to Netflix. Is it truly a game changing move? Greg DeMarco analyzes this shift for the TV wrestling business.

Being a wee little kid in the 80s, I am “lucky enough” to remember having 3 TV channels, and my dad explaining what an 8-track is, how shocked I was when I say a laser disc for the first time, when I bought a 6 CD changer, installed my own car stereo, and all the way up to the fact that I have now been watching WWE pay-per-view/premium live events on the WWE Network and Peacock for 10 years. Hell, in the same month (February 2014) I signed up for the WWE Network, cut the cord to drop cable and got Sling TV. I have since moved onto YouTube TV which is highly recommended.

Over the last two years the NFL has put Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, simulcast to various streaming services, and less than 2 weeks ago put a playoff game exclusively on streaming when a Wildcard Weekend showdown between the Chiefs and Dolphins was only shown on Peacock.

And now it’s fully permeated into pro wrestling.

WWE and AEW are both in the midst of a very important time on the business side, with all of their TV rights up for grabs. The first domino fell when SmackDown On FOX became SmackDown on USA Network, and soon after we learned that WWE NXT was moving to broadcast television and joining The CW (which is also rebranding, but just to CW).

The AEW suite of programming that includes Collision, Rampage, and their most successful show Dynamite is up for renewal with Warner Bros/Discovery, and Tony Khan has been optimistic about the relationship and potentially an increase in rights fees.

That brings us to Tuesday morning, and the likely groundbreaking WWE announcement that Raw is moving to Netflix, starting in January 2025. Triple H tweeted that they’re changing the game, and TKO President and COO Mark Shapiro (who knows a thing or two about shifts in media consumption) used the word “transformative” in his statement, and I really think he couldn’t be more right.

But what does it all mean?

Wrestling Remains A Strong Media Product

I have been claiming this for over a year now. As many online will cite a decline in TV viewership for both WWE and AEW, the TV product has been a strong value to networks. Even in dropping SmackDown, FOX themselves said they didn’t pump enough resources into the show, and that the advertising return wasn’t what they wanted. That doesn’t mean the product (TV value, we’re not talking about creative here) isn’t strong. It’s so strong that USA Network picked up SmackDown for $280 million per year, giving WWE an increase over the FOX deal. CW is paying $20-$25 million annually for NXT, and now Netflix is paying $500 million for RAW.

Why? Because wrestling isn’t just a strong media product, it’s consistent. And that is key.

Look at this quote from Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria:

“Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.”

Now cross reference that with a comment from CW President Dennis Miller from back when the CW/NXT deal was announced:

“We are thrilled to welcome the WWE brand into the CW Sports portfolio as they play an integral role in our mission to bring live sporting events to the network year-round.”

What do those statements have in common? The year-round, 52-week nature of wrestling programming. It’s an unbeatable value for networks. It’s cheaper than a deal with a major sports league, and it’s not finite. Wrestling joins news, talk, and sports talk as the only year-round programming available to networks. And WWE and AEW have shows that essentially always land in the Top 5 after you factor out live sports. You can’t beat it.

What Does This Mean for Netflix?

Don’t get it twisted, this is also a huge leap for Netflix. Prior to the WWE Raw deal, Netflix has only experimented with live events, streaming the live Chris Rock “Selective Outrage” special, and showing The Netflix Cup live (a golf event featuring athletes from their F1 series “Drive To Survive” and their golf series “Full Swing).

WWE is the perfect partner for Netflix as it gets into live programming. It’s sports entertainment: sports like programming (which Netflix has done) that focuses on storytelling (which Netflix has obviously done). And no one does it better than WWE. It’s essentially plug-and-play for Netflix, the perfect solution for their live programming aspirations.

The perfect solution that they were willing to pay $5 billion for.

What Does This Mean for AEW?

The biggest risk to an AEW renewal with Warner Bros Discovery was WBD picking up WWE Raw–and that risk has been eliminated by Netflix. Don’t discount that fact–Netflix did Tony Khan a huge favor by throwing $500 million per at WWE. The path is clear for AEW to remain on the Turner networks.

But at what price?

I know I usually write as if I have all the answers, but I have zero idea either way on this one. WBD no longer has any other options if it wants to keep wrestling (except for TNA, who recently expressed a desire to be on a bigger network), and AEW (at least, Dynamite) is a weekly Top 5 program for them on Wednesdays, on cable.

On the other hand, AEW doesn’t exactly have another network begging for their services. The reason WWE could get a yearly increase for Raw, SmackDown, and NXT is because it was truly a bidding war. Unless Tony Khan gets another network involved, any threat of walking away from a deal doesn’t really hold water.

So if I were a betting man (and who would ever bet on this) I would expect an announcement of a renewal for AEW and WBD relatively soon. We may not know the terms of the deal, I will take a shot in the dark and say that AEW gets a small increase (not the “nearly double” that had been reported last year).

Regardless of the increase (or not), given AEW’s recent attendance challenges, this likely renewal would have to be viewed as a win for the company.


Personally, this is simply an amazing time to be a fan. We’ve seen WWE go from one live TV show per week with Monday Night Raw, through the Monday Night Wars, the addition of SmackDown and later NXT, to being this global juggernaut that is commanding half-a-billion dollars per year for Raw. I also think this makes Raw the flagship once again. All of this comes after Vince McMahon is largely out of power, Triple H has taken over creative (and holds a pretty good success rate so far), and the company was sold to Endeavor, and merged with the UFC as a business entity under the TKO banner.

If you know me, you know I am a huge follower of the business side of the wrestling business. I often care less about WHAT wrestling companies do, but HOW they do it. I have always gravitated towards that, since middle school. And for the past near 24 months, I have been like a kid in a candy store.

The Peacock deal for the WWE Network runs out in 2026, right? The fun never stops!


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